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November 1, 2018 
Harvey County IndependentNovember 1, 2018 Harvey County Independent

Former Presbyterian congregants willing to accept demolition

Posted 11/1/2018

The Halstead City Council learned last week that former members of the Presbyterian Church—who sold their building to the city two years ago with the vision of turning it into a community center—would not object if the city demolishes it. The council had been trying to decide for the past two years whether extensive repairs required for the building would be worth the cost. The Halstead City Council learned last week that former members of the Presbyterian Church—who sold their building to the city two years ago with the vision of turning it into a community center—would not object if the city demolishes it. The council had been trying to decide for the past two years whether extensive repairs required for the building would be worth the cost. By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—The future of the Halstead Community Center, formerly the First Presbyterian Church, became a little bit clearer last week after the city learned that former congregation members would not be opposed to its demolition.

Dan Evans told the city council during a council work session Oct. 24 that he recently asked his fellow members of Halstead Bible Fellowship—which is what the Presbyterian congregation became after relocating—their thoughts on losing the building for good.

“Every active member was at that church attendance, […] and I asked them a question that if the Presbyterian Church was torn down and something else was built, would there be crying and gnashing of teeth if something like that were to happen,” Evans said. “And nobody protested. They were all in favor of tearing the building down.”

The city bought the building from the Presbyterians in late July 2016 for $1 with the intention of using it as a community center. But in the process of identifying necessary renovations to the building, the city learned these repairs would have a hefty price tag.

City Administrator Ethan Reimer said rough estimates the city collected for retrofitting the building, making it handicap accessible and mold remediation in the basement easily totaled half a million dollars. Demolishing the building would cost between $30,000 and $50,000, he said.

The city has already spent money on repairs to the roof and front steps.

“It was a best loss, and when you buy a 1923 building for a dollar, you know you’re going to have put some cost into it,” Reimer said. “We’ll start looking at options and probably put a hold on retrofitting.”

Evans told the council that he wasn’t surprised that his fellow church members are willing to accept the building’s demolition.

“I think everyone realizes that that church is a church, and it’s old, and the community is just never going to work in that church without putting lots and lots of dollars into it, and then I don’t even think it would be that functional,” Evans said.

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Officials respond to transparency questions surrounding building purchase

Posted 11/1/2018

By Bill BushThe Medical Plaza of Sedgwick building was recently purchased by the City of Sedgwick from the Newton Medical Center. The Medical Plaza of Sedgwick building was recently purchased by the City of Sedgwick from the Newton Medical Center.

SEDGWICK—The purchase of the Newton Medical Center building by the city of Sedgwick has brought up questions in regard to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).

Immediately after an executive session on Oct. 1, the city council voted to purchase the Newton Medical Center building. There had been no prior indication during the meeting that a purchase was being considered.

Was this a violation of the KOMA? Not necessarily.

According to Mayor Bryan Chapman, ongoing discussions have taken place for the last several years about where to locate the city library in a more permanent location.

City Attorney Brad Jantz said that there were references to the medical center being listed and at what price during open session meetings.

“A lot of that is piecemeal discussion that has gone on for a long time,” Jantz said. “Was there one single conversation that tied all of that together? Not that I recall. But, all of those things were historically referenced, so that all had been brought up to speed, over time.”

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Scouts haul in 850 pounds of food

Posted 11/1/2018

Scout Drake Hooper (left) and Gage Hanes walked the streets of Sedgwick last Sunday afternoon to collect food for the Scouting for Food Drive.Scout Drake Hooper (left) and Gage Hanes walked the streets of Sedgwick last Sunday afternoon to collect food for the Scouting for Food Drive.By Bill Bush

SEDGWICK—A week ago Sunday, the Boy Scouts put flyers on every door in town. Last Sunday afternoon, they walked the streets of Sedgwick to collect food in preparation for the holiday season.

After collecting the food, it was brought to the basement of the United Methodist Church where the scouts, parents and other volunteers, weeded out all expired items.

Kelley DeGraffenreid, parent volunteer with the Boy Scouts, said that all of the food stays in Sedgwick.

“We also get food from the school,” she said. “Other organizations donate food items, as well.”

After sorting out the expired item, they weighed the food and sorted it into boxes to be kept until the week before Thanksgiving.

DeGraffenreid said that Diane Thompson organizes the care packages during the holidays.

“I think the council of churches does Thanksgiving boxes for families in town,” DeGraffenreid said. “I think it’s the booster club does Christmas boxes, which includes food and gifts. Diane’s the one who coordinates all of that.”

She said that individuals in town adopt families and purchase gifts for the children at Christmas time. The Christmas boxes are then delivered by Santas.

DeGraffenreid didn’t know how long the scouts had been doing the food drive, but they were doing it when she first began volunteering, 15 years ago.

In all, the Boy Scouts collected 850 pounds of food, last weekend.

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